How to Make a Dreamcatcher

Kathleen Esposito

The dreamcatcher is a well-known Native American craft. Legend has it that bad dreams will get caught in the webbing while the good dreams pass through the holes and slide down to the dreamer below. They are really fun to make using these simple directions.

Making a Dream Catcher

Step One: Gather Materials

While it may look complicated, the construction of a dream catcher is very simple. First, gather the following materials:

  • A 12" metal hoop or flexible tree branch of comparable size
  • Three feet of sinew (real or artificial) or embroidery thread
  • Beads
  • Scissors

This example uses a branch and artificial sinew, which you can find at any craft store. To find a branch, just head to a nearby woods and check the forest floor.

Step Two: Prepare Your Branch or Hoop

If you are using a branch as in this example, bend it into a circular shape and tie the ends with your sinew, using an overhand knot. If you are using a hoop, you can wrap it with suede or ribbon if you wish. Then tie the sinew to the hoop at any point.

Beginning tie

Step Three: Start Weaving

Wrap the thread around the hoop about one inch from where you tied your overhand knot. When you pull the end of the thread back through the hoop, make sure it's behind the section of thread you just pulled through. You want a simple loop, not a knot.

Initial loop

Step Four: Continue Adding Loops

Repeat step three until you've made it all the way around the hoop. Now, continue as before, but instead of starting on the hoop, start each loop in the middle of a section of sinew already in place. Make sure you pull up and tighten the sinew after each stitch or your dreamcatcher will start looking sloppy.

Continuing to loop

Step Five: Add Beads

Once you get close to the middle of your dreamcatcher, string some beads on the sinew as you do your stitching. The beads represent the dreams that are caught in the web. For a dreamcatcher of this size, you would normally incorporate two to seven beads. You can use as many as you wish though. When you reach the middle, tie a final overhand knot in the sinew so it doesn't unravel. Cut the sinew.

Adding beads

Step Six: Add Tassels

Cut a couple of pieces of sinew about eight inches in length. Pull them over the bottom of the hoop, so half is in front and half is behind. Overlap the two ends to form a single double-thick rope. String a few beads on it. Tie it at the bottom. Repeat to create up to three more tassels at various places along the bottom of the hoop.

Added tassels

Step Seven: Make a Hanging Loop

Create a hanging loop out of a small piece os sinew. This will go at the top of the dream catcher. A simple overhand knot will do the trick.

Hanging Loop

You can decorate your dreamcatcher further if you wish. For example, many people glue feathers to the bottom of the tassels. You can also glue a silver disc in the middle, or include arrowheads, stones, trinkets and other mementos in your design. Simple craft glue will work with most anything you wish to attach.

Displaying Your Dream Catcher

Once you're done with your dream catcher hang it above your bed in a place where it can freely swing, like from a beam in the ceiling. It's also great to hang above a baby's crib, as long as the child can't reach it. Perhaps you will dream of your next craft project!

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